Chainalysis identified ransomware payments worth more than $602 millions in 2021. However, Chainalysis believes that this figure is an underestimate and that the real total for the year will be higher.
Ransomeware payouts 2021
Chainalysis, a blockchain analytics company, reported that ransom payments totaling at least $602,000,000 were made in 2021. These figures could be even higher, considering that ransomware revenue for the first half 2021 was greater than that for the first half 2020. This suggests that ransomware will continue to grow in 2021.
These hackers typically request ransom demands and lock down the data of an organisation or platform using encryption. They have become more severe and numerous over the years.
In 2021, ransomware payments continued to increase in size. According to the report, the average demand payment in 2021 was $118,000, compared with $88,000 in 2020 and $25,000 for 2019.
Conti is the top ransomware strain in 2021. He extorted $180 million from victims. Leveraging a ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) model, the operators enabled affiliates to strike with the help of their ransomware program in exchange for a fee. Although many strains are dormant for a brief time, Conti remained operational through the entire year.
Darkside also followed suit, primarily because of its involvement in the famous attack on Colonial Pipeline’s oil pipeline. Ransomware attacks can cause large-scale destruction, as the attack on Colonial Pipeline last year brought attention to this fact.
The US Department of Justice (DOJ), which successfully tracked and seized $2.3 million of ransom paid by the American oil pipeline system to DarkSide, also proved the need to report these attacks on law enforcement agencies even though they had not paid the fee.
Even more remarkable was the fact that there were more active ransomware strains than in any other year. Chainlysis showed that approximately 140 ransomware attacks made payments to victims in 2021. This is up from 119 in 2020, and 79 in 2019.
These numbers are indicative of the rapid growth in ransomware over the past two years. Ransomware strains are unpredictable and only stay active for a brief time before going dormant.
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